A popular Virginia teen, Madison Small, died suddenly after complaining of a headache. The teen was taken to the hospital Monday night, but by Tuesday morning she was pronounced dead. The mysterious death left Madison’s family grieving and confused at how their daughter, who was the “picture of health” could pass away so suddenly without warning. However, yesterday health officials announced an official cause for the teen’s untimely death, meningococcal meningitis.
Fox DC reports that the mysterious death of Madison Small has been confirmed as a case of meningococcal meningitis by the Loudoun County Health Department. The health officials say that Madison suffered from a case of meningitis, which results in the tissues that protect the spinal cord and brain to become infected. According to the CDC, meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis, also known as Meningococcus bacteria. It is noted that Meningococcus bacteria are spread through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions like spit. This means the bacteria can be spread through sharing drinks, kissing or living in close quarters. Despite the fact that Madison was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, health officials say there is no meningitis outbreak concerns.
However, health officials say they are monitoring individuals who were in close contact with Madison.
“Our thoughts are with the family during this very difficult time. The Health Department is evaluating all of the reports that we received to identify whether anyone is at an increased risk of infection.”
The Loudoun County schools spokesman Wayde Byard told the Washington Post that there is no reason to fear a meningitis outbreak in the school. However, the Broad Run High School has taken precautionary measures to ensure student’s safety such as disinfecting student lockers twice.
The death of the seemingly healthy teen has left many in the community grieving. Madison’s father Tim Small says that his daughter was the “picture of health” of the weekend and that she did not even begin to feel ill until Monday morning. Little did he know she would die less than 24 hours after her symptoms first appeared.
Symptoms for meningitis include severe headache, fever, chills, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light. Meningococcal meningitis can be treated with antibiotics if discovered early enough. However, as is evident by Madison’s quick passing, medical treatment is needed immediately.
On Tuesday night a vigil was held for Madison Small at the Broad Run High School where she was a promising softball player. The school says that 400 to 500 people came to the vigil where Madison’s father spoke to those in the crowd.
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